In all honesty, this picture definitely applies to my outside-of-school life, but woah, buddy, not my classroom! Okay... well... it gets kind of messy sometimes too, my desk in particular. I've been in some classrooms before, though, that strongly remind me of that second picture. Now, I don't judge because it's completely unfair to judge a teacher on how they keep their classroom based off of one visit. For all you know, some major catastrophe just happened in that room, like some kid used an apostrophe to indicate the plural form of a word (the nerve of that kid)!
|This will make me cry more quickly than a Reese Witherspoon movie.|
If you like a messy classroom because it makes you feel unfettered, creative, wild, and free, then you go, girl (or dude). I get the feeling, though, that your sub wants no part of that. If anything, bring on the chains! A substitute wants to know exactly where everything is. No guessing games! So, as a courtesy, it's a very good idea to at least tidy up the joint like your mother-in-law
Let us embark upon the journey of setting up your classroom before you leave it.
Step 1: For the love of God, please clean up your desk. I absolutely understand and respect the fact that the desk is your little space of sanity. This is your little safe haven where the ickies usually can't get you (unless you have an open door policy). If you're going to be out for the day, the least you can do is share the safe spot with the poor guy or gal who is taking your place. Does that mean that the area needs a complete renovation? Of course not. Does that mean you can't have your paperwork there? No, but make sure it's at least tidy and out of the way. Does that mean you have to make sure there is supplies for your sub on the desk? YES. I cannot emphasize this enough! Your substitute is going to need things and they shouldn't have to look all over God's green earth for them. Here's a checklist (I LOVE LISTS):
- Any confidential information sitting out on your desk should be stowed away in a filing cabinet or desk drawer.
- Organize all of that paper lying on your desk. I know you know what's going on, but the sub might not and, before you know it, your system may be unknowingly disrupted. It's best to take care of this. Use file folders, rubber bands, binder clips, or any other means to neatly gather your paperwork. If you have nowhere else to put it, choose one very small area to stack all of this paper so it is out of the sub's way. They've got enough to worry about without scattering your paperwork all over the floor.
- Get your dirty dishes out of there. If you have nowhere else to stash your coffee mug, at least clean it out before you put it back on the desk. If you have six empty water bottles sitting on your desk JUST IN CASE (not that I know anyone who does that...), get rid of them, or hide them in a cabinet.
- Make supplies readily available. I talked about keeping some supplies in your Substitute Binder, but it's a nice gesture to make sure there are extra pens, pencils, paperclips, White Out bottles, staples, tape, etc. for your substitute.
- Make your subsitute feel welcome to sit at your desk. When you look at your desk, ask yourself, "Would I feel comfortable as a substitute spending my day at this desk?" If the answer is yes, you've done your job.
|Nothing like a cup of moldy coffee to welcome your substitute.|
Step 3: If you have a routine with using your white board or chalk board, try to maintain that routine. My students can always find the following information of the board in my room:
- weekly homework assignments
- daily agenda with the learning objective
- the day's bell ringer activity
- the day's vocab word
- important dates
That's all from me! What do you do to help out your sub (and your students)?
*DISCLAIMER: I love my mother-in-law. She is awesome and she doesn't drop by unexpectedly. I've just heard stories about other mothers-in-law. This is not from a personal experience. I swear.